“I’m not jealous” I would claim when I was in my monogamous relationship. I would brag about it as if jealousy was an emotion I was actually capable of not experiencing. “Jealousy is a relationship killer” I would continue to spout ignorantly.
I’m gonna stop past Sami right there and clarify a few things.
- No, jealousy is not the relationship killer. How you handle your jealousy is.
- Yes, I can very much get jealous, even though I’m polyamorous
Jealousy is a collection of emotions all mixed together. Anxiousness, anger, sadness; a whirlwind of negative feelings that leave your stomach in knots. What makes us feel this way? Insecurities about ourselves. Not feeling good enough. Fear of losing our partners to someone better.
When my partner is out with someone, I don’t want to know about it until he’s home. That is a boundary that involved a large amount of trial and error. I talk more in detail about this here under the communication section. If the boundary is not followed for any specific reason (it happens, people make mistakes, trial and error, yadda yadda), I panic. I get jealous. Then I get sad which inevitably leads me to get snappy. It’s a sick cycle of emotions stemming from me questioning my worth. I have two ways I could deal with these feelings: I could blame my partner and demand they don’t see this person again OR I could identify what about their interaction causes this feeling in myself. Because that’s all jealousy is. Is this girl prettier than me? Does she have a less hectic schedule? Is she better in bed? Are her boobs bigger than mine? Does she have all these qualities that I lack? Will my partner be more intrigued by her?
If I reacted poorly and started a fight with my partner over it, I would be projecting my feelings of inadequacy, making him feel bad about my own insecurities. Where is the logic in that? Why should he get the brunt of me feeling that way? That is how jealousy can be a relationship killer; how you react when these mixed emotions take over your mental state.
My boundary when we first began our relationship was that I would like honesty. After the first time he had been intimate with someone other than myself, a new boundary had to be put in place. He gave me updates here and there, even past when I fell asleep, until the messages stopped. Because he was out late, he slept in significantly later than me so I didn’t get any follow up. This gave me plenty of time to ask these questions in my head, fill in my own gaps as to what happened and then overall break down when I saw him.
He thought he was doing right. He did exactly what I asked, but, I had never been in that situation before. That boundary developed into me not wanting to know until we were able to sit down and have a conversation. Since recently it’s developed to not wanting to even know who he’s with until then.
A lot of people say the same thing when I mention that my partner and I are poly:
“I could never do that, I’m too jealous.”
Yes, Susan. I’m jealous too. There will always be someone that makes me question my worth, my body, my hair, etc. But this is my problem, not my partner’s. The only part he plays in this is to respect the boundaries I lay out to minimize the effect these emotions have on me.
Even though it’s been almost a year, jealousy is still an obstacle we face from time to time. Setting boundaries is something that has made a significant difference to the frequency of these occurrences. Although these feelings can be extremely unpleasant, I don’t think I could ever go back to being monogamous. I appreciate the freedom of my autonomy as much as I’m sure my partner appreciates his.